Pakistan denies role in Dhaka terror attack, rejects allegations of involvement

Among 20 hostages who were killed in Dhaka terror attack include 19-year-old Indian girl Tarishi Jain. 

Pakistan denies role in Dhaka terror attack, rejects allegations of involvement

Dhaka: Pakistan on Monday denied role in Dhaka terror attack and rejected Bangladesh's allegations of involvement of its spy agency ISI.

Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria issued a statement in response to media queries regarding reports of the involvement of ISI in last week's attack on a popular restaurant in Dhaka.

"These are highly regrettable, irresponsible and provocative stories being carried in the Indian media. They are utterly baseless and unfounded. Pakistan strongly rejects such allegations," he said in the statement.

He drew attention to the statement by the Adviser to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Gowher Rizvi, refuting a media report that was attributed to him regarding Pakistan's involvement in the attack, as proof of the Indian media's "malicious intent".

"Prof Rizvi contacted Pakistan's High Commissioner to Bangladesh to confirm that he has not issued any statement against Pakistan and that the Indian media reports are false. He also advised Pakistan's High Commissioner to convey this clarification to the Government of Pakistan, to avoid any misunderstanding between the two countries," the Foreign Office spokesman said, as per PTI.

Zakaria said Pakistan has strongly condemned the terrorist attack in Dhaka and "expressed solidarity with the government and the brotherly people of Bangladesh and offered condolences and sympathised with the families of the victims".

"Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Being itself one of the biggest victims of terrorism, Pakistan welcomes Prof Gowher Rizvi's call for international cooperation to fight the menace of terrorism," he said. 

Bangladesh had yesterday blamed 'home-grown' Islamist terrorists and ISI for the country's worst terror attack in which 20 hostages were hacked to death and had ruled out the role of the Islamic State or the ISIS.

"Let me clear it again, there are no ISIS or al-Qaeda presence or existence in Bangladesh... The hostage-takers were all home-grown terrorists not members of ISIS or any other international Islamist outfits," Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan had said.

"We know them (hostage-takers) along with their ancestors, they all grew here in Bangladesh...They belong to homegrown outfits like JMB (Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh)," he had added.

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the killing of the hostages, mostly foreigners, and two police officers during the 12-hour siege that ended after the Army stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery popular with expats in the diplomatic zone here, killing six attackers and capturing one alive.

On the other hand, Hossain Toufique Imam, the political advisor to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, had said that the way in which the hostages were killed with machetes suggests the role of a local terrorist group, the banned Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen.

"Pakistan's ISI and Jamaat connection is well known... they want to derail the current government," Imam had told a TV channel.

Hostages who were killed include 19-year-old Indian girl Tarishi Jain. Nine Italians, 7 Japanese, one American of Bangladeshi origin, and two Bangladeshis were also among the people who were killed.

(With PTI inputs)